Paper and cardboard are wondrous substances and now we are finding new ways to use the materials in fashion, art and even construction thanks to the Highcon Shape, which is on display right now at the Drupa show.
You might have seen a variety of furniture created from thin slices of wood, cardboard and paper of late. The conceptual art and home furnishing community are slowly waking up to the beauty of the materials and the recycling element too.
In fact, this could easily become a viable business producing promotional point of sale and straightforward furniture from thousands of pieces of recycled paper. If there is a story behind each piece and an artistic flavour, it would be a surefire winner.
While it is better to use thick card with Highcon’s machines and that dramatically reduces the production time, the quality of the paper and the finish is irrelevant. This gives an artist with a vision complete freedom to experiment and produce truly stunning pieces with paper from all over the world and even salvaged paper with a story behind it.
We’re sure there is a masterpiece in the making here and we’re looking forward to seeing it.
The sky is the limit for this novel machine
Until that comes, commercial businesses can create their own paper and cardboard furniture and models with the Highcon Shape that combines the skills of the Highcon Beam and Highcon Euclid in a more accessible and smaller package. It also makes paper a viable construction tool for a variety of things, including dresses, functional furniture and so much more.
The company opted to show a range of ornate dresses created from paper that show the machine’s true skills. It’s a breathtaking exhibition from a machine that is realistically more likely to serve the packaging industry on a daily basis.
Highcon also put a wine display case on show at Drupa that is 1.4m tall and is made from an epic 2400 layers that the software algorithm defines before cutting and arranging it for you. Simply load up the paper tray and the finished product emerges from the other side.
Unlike some others, the Highcon method minimises waste, too, and can create a number of different layers from a single piece of paper or card.
Paper has true strength
Sliced paper furniture is just one use, though. Highcon is keen to show off just what paper is capable of. It has brought a mold that can be used for anything up to and including concrete.
Effectively the machine can create this mold from the waste paper used to produce the original product, so if that is sliced out of thousands of sheets of paper then you have a sold mold that can take any pourable resin or solution. Molten metal might be pushing it a little far, but any cold-setting solution, including concrete or some variation on resin, is a viable option.
It opens up further artistic options and even means that paper can be used for rapid, rough and ready prototyping on large pieces of furniture and other items that are simply too big for a standard 3D printer.
If you use enough of it, paper is immensely strong and we get through a mass of it each and every year. Of course we can simply recycle it into new paper, but there is something deeply satisfying about subverting the whole process and creating something new from our waste paper.
It is a relatively limited market, but we’re looking forward to seeing what companies, artists and individuals can do with the Highcon Shape because the whole concept has an air of beauty and elegance about it.